Study: ‘Shocking’ Water Loss in Western U.S.

Common Dreams

Satellites show groundwater supply at greater risk than previously thought

By Deirdre Fulton

The rapid groundwater depletion rate will lead to further declines in streamflow in the Colorado River, study authors say. (Photo: Airwolfhound)
The rapid groundwater depletion rate will lead to further declines in streamflow in the Colorado River, study authors say. (Photo: Airwolfhound)

The drought-stricken Colorado River Basin has experienced rapid and significant groundwater depletion since late 2004, posing a greater threat to the water supply of the western United States than previously thought, according to a new study by NASA and University of California, Irvine.

The research team used data from NASA’s Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) satellite mission to track changes in the mass of the Colorado River Basin, which is the water source for more than 30 million people and 4 million acres of farmland. The satellites showed the basin lost nearly 53 million acre feet (about 17 trillion gallons) of freshwater between 2004-2013 — almost double the volume of the nation’s largest reservoir, Nevada’s Lake Mead, which itself recently fell to its lowest level since the 1930s. More than three-quarters of the total water loss in the Colorado River Basin was from groundwater. The basin has been experiencing the driest 14-year period in the last 100 years. Continue reading Study: ‘Shocking’ Water Loss in Western U.S.

Nigeria waits for its kidnapped girls: ‘This is the worst kind of pain’

Nigeria waits for its kidnapped girls: ‘This is the worst kind of pain’

Mail & Guardian

By Monica Mark, Abdulazziz Abdulazziz

Parents of girls kidnapped by Boko Haram describe their anguish, 100 days on.
Parents of girls kidnapped by Boko Haram describe their anguish, 100 days on.

Parents of girls kidnapped by Boko Haram describe their anguish, 100 days on.
Women ­attend a protest on ­Wednesday to mark 100 days since nearly 300 ­schoolgirls were abducted. A day before the protest, ­President Goodluck Jonathan met parents of the missing girls and those who had escaped. (Reuters)

Samuel Yaga was describing his missing daughter’s dream of becoming a doctor when the air went from his lungs. One hundred days after Sarah was abducted, the raw emotion still detonates unexpectedly. Could a child who always fell asleep clutching a book survive a sect whose opposition to Western education has led them to burn schoolchildren alive, he wondered.

“It would be better if we had a body to bury,” he began, then took a shaky breath. He tried again: “We would have been able to cope. But she just disappeared without a trace and we have nothing, not even a body to mourn. This is the worst kind of pain.”

Countless families in northeastern Nigeria are adrift in the same agonising limbo. Boko Haram has outgunned an overstretched and demoralised army, kidnapping girls and women, forcing boys into their ranks and razing villages in their quest for an Islamic caliphate. On April 14, a festering insurgency erupted in the mass abduction of nearly 300 girls in Chibok, Borno state. Continue reading Nigeria waits for its kidnapped girls: ‘This is the worst kind of pain’

Nigeria: Seeking Peace Over Land

Independent Catholic News

Nigeria, land use, Fulani, Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate
By Fr Cornelius Ali Nnaemeke

The conflict between Fulani herdsmen and Tiv farmers over use of a grazing land reserve is a major concern for the local community in Benue State. The Tiv people depend on agriculture, while the Fulani are herdsmen. Unfortunately the tension over land between Fulani herdsmen and Tiv farmers has resulted in conflict that has led to loss of lives, families internally displaced and properties destroyed. This is a story of the Nigerian people but it is affecting the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate and their collaborators ministering in Nigeria.

Fr Cornelius Ali Nnaemeka
Fr Cornelius Ali Nnaemeka

“The Nigerian Oblate mission has always had contact with the poor with their many faces, but the challenges raised by the recent ethnic clashes in Nigeria have brought us into contact with yet another group of poor people. This new development caused us to make a shift from our regular activities of helping our parishioners have a decent life, access to clean water and quality education. In recent months, we have had to face some new challenges. This deplorable situation calls us to do what we can, by word and example, to rekindle the flame of faith and hope that seem to be dying in the hearts of our brothers and sisters. Continue reading Nigeria: Seeking Peace Over Land